I have not quite finished obsessing about the election, so I nerded out and downloaded the Excel spreadsheet from SC Election Commission that details every single vote cast for Charleston County, where I live. Some interesting trends emerge. South Carolina is one of those states that is considered nearly impenetrably red. But like so many places, politics is local. And in Charleston County, it is decidedly blue.

The voting data is broken into straight-ticket voters and individual election voters. You can also see how the data shakes out for Absentee versus Election Day voters. Unfortunately, the Absentee votes can’t be traced back to their home precincts, which would be helpful for future get-out-the-vote efforts. That information may only be available by a Freedom of Information Act request, if at all. My nerdism hasn’t taken me that deep into the heart of data darkness. Here’s what we know based on what is available:

In absentee voting, it is no surprise that Democrats and Obama, respectively, owned the election:

Straight-Ticket DObama-BidenStraight-Ticket RRomney-Ryan
1312320941811015571

Early voting doesn’t exist in South Carolina, but get-out-the-vote folks have tried to leverage the state’s broad absentee voting provisions to make up for that. And the strategy is clearly working: the top of the Democratic ticket claimed a total of 34,064 votes via absentee ballots, compared to 23,681 claimed by the top of the Republican ticket.

In election day voting, Democrats and Obama won as well, though Obama-Biden narrowly lost among those voters casting ballots in each race:

Straight-Ticket DObama-BidenStraight-Ticket RRomney-Ryan
31781597652965961612

Thus, the top of the Democratic ticket claimed a total of 91546 votes on election day, compared to 91,271. Wait! What? For reals.

The only group among whom the Republican/Romney ticket prevailed was those voters casting contest-specific votes for the top of the ticket; even then, the difference between the two groups was 1847 votes. That is, for all the people who braved the cold and rain and absurd voting conditions; for all the angry bumper stickers and yard signs; for all the ways in which living here we often feel as though we are outnumbered here in Charleston, WE ARE NOT.

To me, the most striking deficiency in these numbers is, as I mentioned earlier, the inability to parse out in which precincts each Absentee ballot would otherwise have been cast. I suppose I could get really nerdy and drill into the local race totals for absentee ballots to try to figure it out, but even I’m not that crazy. Another data point that is missing but could surely be gleaned from a FOIA request is how voting machines were allocated across the precincts and whether, if at all, disparate ratios of voters to machines correlates to the racial or political makeup of the precinct/voting location. Nah. Surely that wouldn’t have happened!

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